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7 Tips For a Successful Orientation
Whether you’ve had the date of your freshman orientation lovingly circled on your calendar for months or you’re regarding orientation with more nervousness than excitement, you’re more likely than not experiencing some mixed feelings as the week-long program designed to acclimate you to your new home draws nearer. We at CollegeVine have compiled a quick list of tips designed to ensure that your experience at orientation is positive and fulfilling.
Be ready to be asked the same questions ad infinitum: Where are you from? What is your major? What are your interests? These questions serve as both routine small talk as well as attempts to identify potential common ground, as everyone is on the lookout for potential friends. That being said, don’t be afraid to stray from these typical questions; people will find being asked something different for a change refreshing and it will make for a stronger first impression.
In a similar vain as introductions, your orientation leader is bound to put you through some wonderful (read: painfully awkward) ice-breaker games in an attempt to get everyone acquainted. These can be fun, silly, awkward, or embarrassing depending on the group, so we recommend preparing a few good answers for staples like “Two Truths and a Lie,” as well as responses to common starters like “name something fun you did this summer” or “what’s your favorite book/movie of all time.”
Go to Info Sessions
Over the course of orientation, various departments throughout your college will be holding information sessions about their roles on campus. These departments usually include the Student Advising center, Public Safety, Financial Aid office, Career Services, Health Services and several others—check them out! They may be a bit dry at times, but they actually offer really valuable information that you probably wouldn’t otherwise know. You’ll learn about various resources at your school that might include things like resume and interview prep, free flu shots, or funding opportunities for research and internships. One of our team members here at CollegeVine even met his future roommate at a fire safety presentation.
Take a Tour
While you’ve probably already taken a tour of the campus before, group leaders will usually offer an additional trip around campus at some point during orientation. We recommend taking them up on this offer, as these tours tend to be more detailed and often extend beyond campus to include local attractions and favorite restaurants of students that your admissions officer probably didn’t mention.
Go to the Activities Fair
The activities fair is a day where all of the clubs and student groups on campus set up tables for new freshman to sign up—think college fair but way less stressful. This is a great opportunity to meet people with common interests, see all that your school has to offer, try something new, and get involved early. It can’t hurt to sign up for a club’s email list to learn more about them, so if it sounds interesting, throw your name down!
Be Open Minded
This may seem trite, but it seriously is one of the most important actions one must take when going into the novel world of freshman orientation. Leave whatever you think you know about the people you’re about to meet at the door, and go into orientation with the willingness to give each new person an honest shot. With so many new faces, it can be easy to make snap judgements about others, but in doing so you risk writing off someone who could potentially grow into a great friend. Accept the fact that you won’t know where your new classmates have come from, what they’ve experienced, or what they’re all about until you’ve talked them.
Last and certainly not least, be mindful of the other people who are impacted by this change. You’re not the only one going through a monumental transition in your life; you leaving for college marks a major shift in your parents lives too, and they don’t get an orientation on how to cope with that. Be courteous and take a few minutes out of those first days to call home and check in with your folks—they’ll appreciate it more than you know.